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A new partnership has been formed to combat the spread of Russian olive and other invasive weeds on private and public lands in the Escalante River watershed in southern Utah.
The Escalante River Watershed Partnership was born during a June meeting in Boulder, Utah. At the meeting were staff from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Dixie National Forest, the Nature Conservancy, the State of Utah, and local businesses and organizations.
With seed money from the National Park Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with the National Park Service, the group formed a partnership to combat the spread of the invasive exotic plant Russian olive. Russian olive absorbs large amounts of water, forms dense impenetrable thickets along streams, and out-competes native plants that provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. The encroachment of Russian olive on both public and private lands along the Escalante River and its tributaries is resulting in ecological and economic losses and is causing adverse impacts to recreation opportunities.
On October 30, in Escalante, Utah, the partnership came together again to organize into working groups and develop an action plan to achieve their goals.
Although the Escalante River Watershed Partnership is still in its infancy, there are plans to help local businesses and landowners with weed problems on their lands, and to provide native plants that can be used to replace the Russian olives. The partnership will work to obtain funding and assist local landowners who are interested in removing exotic weeds from their properties, and to provide training and skills for local youth in the field of land restoration.
Additional meetings of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership are planned for spring 2010. For further questions call John Spence at (928)608-6267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org